Could you have sleep apnea and not even know it?

Around 22 million people in the US suffer from sleep apnea, a medical condition that affects the upper airways during sleep. Although symptoms are commonly associated with snoring, daytime drowsiness, and headaches, it is possible to miss signs and essential care and treatment. 


You may not realize how common sleep apnea is!

Sleep science and treatments are a relatively new field in the medical industry. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reported 85% of those with sleep apnea did not see the relationship between their symptoms and diagnosis prior to seeking help. It is estimated that 10 to 30% of people in the US have obstructive sleep apnea, although misdiagnosed patients could account for these figures being even higher. Understanding the different types of sleep apnea, its symptoms, causes, and potential treatments, can help recognize how common the condition is and ensure those who require treatment can get the help they need.


Sleep apnea makes day-to-day life exhausting


When you miss out on a good night’s sleep, getting through the next day can seem impossible. For patients with sleep apnea, this cycle becomes an almost daily occurrence, especially when it impacts the quality of restorative sleep necessary for your body to function properly. This continued sleep deprivation can quickly impair cognitive abilities such as memory and attention, making life’s simple and routine tasks more difficult and adding to the stress and frustrations surrounding symptoms. At first, many patients may disregard their daytime drowsiness for issues caused by stress, medications, or lifestyle changes; however, living in a state of constant fatigue can lead to negative mental and physical health effects. If you’re finding yourself overly tired throughout the day without a reasonable explanation for the cause, it’s time to speak to a doctor.


Poor sleep from sleep apnea may cause issues at work


Poor sleep and work are never a good mix – but when accompanied by sleep apnea symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and memory loss, the outcome for patients is often even worse. Data collected from patients suggest unemployment and involuntary job loss significantly increase among sleep apnea sufferers, suggesting those undiagnosed were likely to have experienced multiple dismissals due to symptoms. Although awareness of sleep apnea and potential symptoms continues to develop, it can be trickier for an employer to accommodate when their employee is unaware of their condition. Looking for patterns in reduced work performance and alertness (specifically, those that go beyond a coffee-deprived morning feeling) can help point to medical issues during the night, as your body lacks restorative sleep to keep you at your best during the day.


Sleep Apnea can change your mood and “your performance in the bedroom”


As sleep brings no respite from the challenge of day-to-day symptoms, irritability and confusion quickly sets in at home. Sexual dysfunction and mental health problems commonly present in apnea cases, making it harder to maintain healthy relationships and routines. If you’re sharing a bed with your partner, they may also be feeling the pain of sleepless nights, waking up to loud snoring, or worrying about the gasping sounds from your partner in the early hours. Unsurprisingly, many diagnoses result from a snoring complaint, often reported by the sleep-deprived partner. 


Your fitness levels may drop due to apnea symptoms


Recent studies have suggested a relationship between sleep apnea and exercise. In fact, studies show that the amount of oxygen your body can utilize while exercising was reportedly 14% lower in sleep apnea patients compared to those without the condition. Unfortunately, many patients may find strenuous workouts more of a challenge and recovery between activities longer, impacting general motivation to a dedicated fitness routine. Sleep apnea is commonly associated with reduced energy levels and decreased metabolism, so hitting the gym can quickly become a chore rather than a pastime. If you’ve experienced a drop in your fitness levels and are experiencing other symptoms of apnea, call The Sleep Cycle Center and let us help you!


You could have sleep apnea but missed many of the classic symptoms!


One of the main reasons apnea can go undiagnosed for so long is that many key symptoms occur while you’re asleep. Symptoms such as snoring, irregular breathing patterns, or gasping for air are most commonly reported. Patients who live alone or share a bed with heavy sleepers can often take longer to get diagnosed (if they are lucky to at all). There are a few other signs to watch out for if you suspect you have sleep apnea or are awaiting further testing through sleep studies. Other common signs and symptoms include excessive fatigue, headaches, and poor concentration. As sleep apnea significantly impacts the quality of sleep achieved in patients, it is common for people to report feeling like they are not getting enough rest or are constantly tired despite sticking to a healthy bedtime routine. 


Contact Sleep Cycle Center for reliable sleep apnea screening


Sleep apnea can create many challenges in your life, from work and relationships to maintaining good fitness and health. If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, it may be time to consult a dedicated sleep specialist to get the help you deserve. Our specialists use a combination of a scientifically accurate screening tool and an at-home sleep test to diagnose sleep apnea. We believe in a physician-managed philosophy, so you will be seen by a doctor every step of the way. Our team will assist with various treatments to manage apnea symptoms, improve health, and help patients achieve better, recuperative, and more restful sleep. Call us to schedule an appointment today!

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